Confession: I have had this book on my bookshelf, along with the second in the series, since they both came out... a few years ago.
Confession: I only decided to read it now because I saw the movie trailer, almost lost my shit because I realized that this comes out in a few days and I haven't read the book yet. That's practically criminal.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Hands down, one of the most confusing, frustrating, and beautifully crafted book I have read in a very long time. It's a long book and most people reading Young Adult would balk at the size, coming in at 563 pages. I'll be honest and say that there are a few slow parts and while you want to get frustrated at it, you realize you can't because it makes you understand how the characters are feeling as Lena's birthday creeps closer.
Basically, Lena is a caster (another name for witch) and she doesn't know the extent of her power. Clearly it's huge because everybody is very vague when explaining to her what could happen on her birthday when she is to know if she'll be light (good) or dark (bad) in the caster world. She knows she wants to be light but she really feels she's going to be dark and everyone tells her she can't choose.
But I can't tell you about that because it ruins it. Even if she is able to choose, there are huge consequences to whatever decision she makes, and it's a heavy burden to have when you're just a high school teenager.
But her boyfriend Ethan is also kind of an unknown freak because he can do things that nobody can explain and future books go into this more but for this book, his mystery is OK. Lena is everything you expect a teenager to be: moody, dramatic, unreasonable, emotional, unpredictable, lack of impulse control, etc. And I feel awful for Ethan because he clearly loves her and wants to help her in every way, she's really kind of mean to him.
Teenage girls of the world- that is no way to treat a really nice boy.
But my favorite part of this book? Lena's family. Oh are they crazy loons or what. It's kind of Addams Family meets Full House. They are all different and weird, quirky and lovable. I really liked them all for different reasons, which is why I was devastated at the end.
I can't even speak of the end because it was heart breaking. What a horrible choice Lena makes without realizing the huge, life altering consequence/payment she makes. It's sad but it's also terrifying because the person she loses was maybe one of the only ones who really understood what she is up against in future books. How's that for vague?
If you are looking for an interesting and promising series to get into, I suggest this one. Yes, it's long, yes it took me days to get through it, but stop being a baby. If you want to get emotionally invested into a story and the characters? Here you go.